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Barbara Lea

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My 46 year old husband Jim was diagnosed with IIIB nsmlc in Nov. 2005. His symptoms presented as swelling in the feet and ankles in 6/06, which then moved up to knees, hands and wrists. His dr. treated him with diuretics all summer. After trip to OR because he could not walk from pain and swelling we were referred to a rheumatologist who sent him for chest ct on a hunch. Jim also had clubbed fingers which dr. noticed. He diagnosed him with Pumonary Hypotrophic Osteoaropathy (??) which is a syndrom that occurs with lc. Jim had 4 cm tumor in right upper lobe, had lobe removed a few days before christmas. Also had positive cells in pelura fluid and few lymph nodes. HPOA disappeared almost instantly after surgery. Jim has not accepted his diagnosis very well, even though he has smoked since a teenager, and was in total denial it is from cigs, although he has not smoked since the day of his surgery. Quit cold turkey from 2 packs/day. He postponed treatment till March. Wanted to throw in the towel. We finally convinced him to at least try a few treatments. He started taxol/carbo in March, just had 2nd treatment last week. He has a small appetite, but no nausea, achey joints from the white blood shot and has lost all of his hair. Other then those few things he is very fortunate with his lack of symptoms. My delima is that he is not always the easiest person to live with on a good day. So throw in some lung cancer and chemo he's not exactly Mr. Sunshine these days either. I've noticed a pattern of more anger the few days before a chemo treatment, threatening not to go anymore, etc. He is tired of being poked and stuck. I've been with him every step of the way, every appointment, but he is now trying to shut me out. I was not "invited" to go to his last treatment with him or even give him a ride. I'm usually a very mild mannered person but I'm about at the end of my emotional rope with his attitude. I know that I am not in his shoes and can't feel his pain, but after being married 22 years I think I have an idea of how he feels. We have 2 teenagers so I try to keep myself busy with my full time job and keeping life as normal as possible for them. My other concern is that he was advised not to drink alcohol during treatment. He tried non-alcoholic beer the first week after the first treatment, but has gone back to the real stuff. He is at home all day, so he may consume 8-15 beers a day. Nobody has told him what the bad effects of drinking could be, but I'm sure it can't be good for the liver. Now that I'm done venting I guess my question is if anyone has any advice how to handle his anger/attitude. No, I've never had cancer and I haven't been through any of this personally, so I'd like to undertstand how I can help him from someone on his side of the fence or another caregiver who has had to deal with this kind of emotional rollarcoaster. I've been walking on egg shells around him since Nov. and finally blew up at him the other night. Like I said, I'm usually mild mannered and I think I took him off guard when I yelled back. I just wanted to make him understand that I'm sorry he's sick but I didn't do it to him and whether he decides to take treatment or just ride off into the sunset I'll stand beside him whatever he chooses. Thanks in advance for any comments or advise and blessings to all of you going through this monster of an experience.

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Hi, Barbara, and welcome to the site. Being primary caregiver to an lc patient is one of the hardest jobs in the world. It takes a lot of patience. Your husband is mighty young to face mortality already, and I am sure that is contributing to his frustration and anger. We men think we can fix everything, and he can't fix this. So he is frustrated and angry. You said it right that this is an emotional roller coaster -- for the patient, the spouse and all the family. Know that we here understand and use this board to express your feelings, get information and get support. And, most of all, take care of your own health, both physically and emotionally, so you can help your husband and family. Don

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Barbara,

Your husband should find something to

do during the day, friends (non drinking)

sports or an activity that would make

the long hours alone pass faster, he is

alone and thinking too much about lc and

like you mentioned it is just before the

treatments that the mood change.

Hard for both to live this road, wishing

you the best.

Jackie

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Wow Barbara, this is really tough on you. I did not go through any of this so I don't know what to tell you about his attitude. I think since he was a heavy smoker that he is bitter that he had to give that up and maybe that is taking a toll on him also besides that fact that he may think he was given a death sentence and is scared. When people find out they have LC it changes everything. Hopefully, time will change that.

I do know that you have to take care of yourself and your family also. If you find you are having trouble coping then I will suggest you get some meds from your family doctor to help you cope or maybe some outside help through a councelor or therapist. Many insurances cover that.

It has to be so tough to always feel like you are walking on eggs shells.

He is young, and many people on here have had worse diagnosis then he has. I really wish he would change his attitude and fight. That is half the battle there.

Do you know someone who is close to him or a member of the clergy who can talk to him?

I see you live in South Jersey, you see that I live in Voorhees. Where is he going for treatments? We used the doctors at Cooper, they are tremendous..

My husband also went through carbo/taxel 5 treaments 3 weeks apart, 5 hour sessions. He also had miminal side effects as it is doable. You may find that some of the flu like symptoms may increase as his treatments continue but this is temporary and should only last a few days when it hits him.

I pray he gets over his pity party which gives him the excuse to drink and be nasty. This is not good for him or his love ones who want nothing to do but to support him through this.

I pray he makes changes for the better as this is treatable, it is not necessarily a death sentence unless he makes it that way. He must fight and never give up. I pray he gets his spirit back.

Meanwhile, we are always here for you. You are never alone here. Please feel free to vent anytime.

Hopefully, you will get some answers from your post from some of our caregivers who have gone through what you are. I am so sorry...

Maryanne

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Welcome to the site. I am sorry for what you are dealing with. This is a hard road for both the patient and the caregiver. I don't know what to tell you about your husband's attitude except to keep standing up for yourself and your family. Hopefully in time he will adjust to the "new normal" and his attitude will change. Just keep being there and being supportive.

It's great he was able to quit smoking. Possibly the alcohol is a substitute for the cigarettes-- hopefully he will reduce the amount of drinking in the future.

Rochelle

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Welcome Barbara,

I'm so sorry for everything that your going through it really stinks. But know that you could always come here and vent anytime you need to.. Your husband is scared and he is taking his anger out on you.My Dad would always take his anger out on my Mom until one day they were at my house and he was mean and I finally told him he needed to cut the S**t and stop taking everythig out on Mom,she helping you and you can't do this without her. He sat back and said your right and he was sorry after that he has a different attitude. I think he knew that if I was getting mad at him he was wrong because I never ever got mad at my Dad.. I was Daddy's Little Girl my whole life! Take care of yourself!!

Love Michele

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Welcome Barbara. Being told you have lung cancer causes a huge emotional thing in all of us. Most of us get depressed. Alcohol is a depresent so I would think it would make you more depressed. Being told you have Lung Cancer also could make you grieve the loss of good health, one of the stages of grief is anger.

I am so glad he has not smoked since surgery. Being that he was a 2 pack a day smoker that is amazing! Smoking does make chemo less affective so it is great he has been able to lay them aside.

Best wishes.

Donna G

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Welcome Barbara:

It is admirable that your husband went cold turkey and quit smoking. I hope he quits the beer too. Some people take lexapro and or xanax during treatment. It helps with depression and anxiety. He would absolutley have to stop drinking then.

Maybe he just needs a bit more time to process and accept what has happened to him. It has been over 2 years for me, and I still get angry about it from time to time. I don't yell at anyone or whatever, I just write about it in a journal I have been keeping.

I hope things even out for you and your husband soon.

Don M

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Hi Barbara,

Welcome to this site.

I like you right away.

Your husband, cancer or not, needs a good swift kick in the rear-end.. (I'll give you my number, or I know of a good sqirrel who holds a bat! :wink: )

Too bad you can't control his attitude or give him yours.

It all boils down to attitude and choice. He is choosing his pity pot for whatever reason. He needs to stop being selfish and start being a role model and leader of his family. And you can tell him I said so!

You hang in there, Barbara. I feel for you, I do. You are doing an amazing job, so far, and we are here for YOU!

Cindi o'h

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I am in Burlington County, and do wonder where you might be. Lung Cancer is difficult to say the least. I would be curious to know where he is going for treatment.

I found a great resource in Bernie Siegel's Books, expecially "Love, Medicine, and Miracles". I read it with my first cancer in 1993, and still refer to it often.

As far as the alcohol, I did drink a bit through my first dagnosis in 1993. It dulled the pain. With the second, I did not drink, but was a wreck inside. With the lung cancer I went on antianxiety and antidepressents, with an Ativan chaser when needed. You could try any of the above yourself. I wish someone had told me about them in 1993.

Thanks for writing

gail

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Welcome to the forum, good place to be. Lots of support. I am kind of new here and glad I found this site. I have lung cancer and on top of that kidney cancer. I try not to think about it (hard to do), but there is nothing I can do about it. I have to play the cards that I was dealt. You seem like your a very caring person and trying your best to cope with everything. It's going to be a tough road unless his attitude changes. My wife is my soul mate, my best friend, supporter and caregiver. Don't know what I'd do without her. The main thing right now is your health, mentally and physically.

Someone said earlier you husband needs a hobby for all his spare time. I agree. Does he use the computer? Maybe if he lurked around in the forms here his attitude would change. My computer keeps me sane. Best of luck and God Bless.

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I am sorry your husband is giving you a hard time,his diagnosis sounds alot like mine 111b,upper right lobe.i have had rads & chemo,still doing chemo and maybe surgery after the chemo.But he has to think positive,giving up is not the answer and neither is taking his anger out on you,tell him to be mad at the cancer cells and fight them with all hes got.sounds like he has a good chance of beating this,its not easy but well worth the fight.

Marie

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I am new here but wanted to say welcome. Dealing with this disease has to be so hard for your husband, but still he shouldn't take it out on you. Unfortunately, I think you are the one he feels safest venting his anger to. I will be praying for you and your family. Hang in there. You're not alone!

Hugs,

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. We took Jim to get his fishing license, maybe sitting lakeside all day will take his mind off of things.

He goes for treatment #3 on Tues 4/25, and is already getting himself wound up about it. Last time his port was upside down so they had to use his veins. Says he's going to walk out this time if they can't use his port and never go back. Its supposed to rain here all weekend so I can't even go ride my lawnmower for peace, so please send prayers for me to have patience with him. Thanks. Barbara Lea

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I am new to this message board. My husband was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer last August. It has been so devestating.The emotional ups and downs are almost more than I can bear sometimes. He is very depressed and angry (understandably). Our life has become nothing but dr. appointments, hospital stays and always waiting for the other shoe to drop. He has had some chemo treatments, full brain radiation and he is about to start another round of chemo on Mon. The doctor has not ever been positive in any way and sometimes I think my husband is sorry he did any treatment at all. We also flew to NY for a 2nd opinion but the dr. there really was not helpful or positive at all (contrary to all we had heard about Sloan). I think he did it for me because I just couldn't stand the thought of not at least trying anything we could. I don't think either of us has smiled or enjoyed anything for the last 9 months. If we had just had some positives we might have been able to have some quality of life and a little hope. Sorry to be so depressing but I am just so down. Judy

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